The endpoint trajectories of human movements fulfill characteristic power laws linking velocity and curvature. The parameters of these power laws typically vary between different segments of longer action sequences. These parameters might thus be exploited for the unsupervised segmentation of actions into movement primitives. For the example of sign language we investigate whether such segments can be identified by Bayesian binning (BB), using a Gaussian observation model whose mean has a polynomial time dependence. We show that this method yields good segmentation and correctly models ground truth kinematics composed of consecutive segments derived from wrist trajectories recorded from users of Israeli Sign Language (ISL). Importantly, polynomial orders between 3 and 5 yield an optimal trade-off between complexity and accuracy of the trajectory approximation, in accordance with the minimum acceleration and minimum jerk models. Comparing the orders of the polynomials best approximating natural kinematics against those needed to fit the power law ground truth data suggests that kinematic properties not compatible with power laws are also not adequately represented by low order polynomials and require higher order polynomials for a good approximation.
JournaltitleFrontiers in Computational Neuroscience